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Include, Not Exclude: Italian Designers Allow the Blind to Appreciate Caravaggio Through 3D Printing

by • April 5, 2016 • No Comments

logommCaravaggio was a painter born in Milan in the late 1500s who evolved to be known as one of the most famous painters, well-known for his use of shadows and darkness to contrast subjects held in the light. At one time known as ‘the most famous painter in Rome,’ when not via his considerable-bodied ability with the brush, he was engaging in his other passion: fighting. The painter died under mysterious circumstances in 1610, leaving behind a body of work inspiring the Baroque, as well as offering what most in addition view as the beginning of modern painting.

He continues to be celebrated, and most art students can remember him for his intense use of lighting. Recently, Caravaggio’s work was the subject of another project, as MonzaMakers continued in their mission to see that the blind are able-bodied to enjoy artwork in addition through MakersForArt.

We not long ago became aware of the project through Fabrizio Scalco of MonzaMakers who told 3DPrint.com that they are offering a new way to manufacture art for blind folks through 3D printing. As Caravaggio’s Flagellation of Christ was exhibited at their Royal Villa of Monza in what Scalco refers to as an exceptional hosting, he describes their latest work as well:

“…we have 3D printed a 3D tactile adaptation for blind and partially sighted folks,” he told 3DPrint.com. “Now our 3D printed Flagellation is exhibited in front of [the] original masterpiece.”


The 3D adaptation upcoming to the original.

After careful study and versioning by hand, the team was able-bodied to take the work of a master and translate it into another pleasing form so that the blind may in essence in addition experience the artwork comprehensively, astonishingly
via only the sense of touch. With the 3D printed adaptation, they were intended to feel each additional detail of the painting—actually the dramatic shadows for that Caravaggio is famous.

“Regarding the additional details in the shadows, these are deliberately less marked to convey to the blind man the same sensations felt by a sighted man, whose eyes, in the absence of light, see less-defined shapes,” say the MonzaMakers team on their website. “In the same way, the surfaces of the areas of the painting that are invested with light are perceived as clear and distinct to the touch.”

The team employed 3D Systems’ ColorJet technology that allowed them to mold objects out of colored gypsum powder. We’ve covered this powerful technology numerous times previously of 3D printing of gaming figurines on demand to building with chocolate to reporting on worthwhile companies inside the industry relying on 3D Systems technology for color printing. Now, ColorJet technology is being utilized for not only an amazing new project, but an amazing cause as well.

The MonzaMakers team sees this new type of technology coupled with the exhibition as the modern opening of a positive Pandora’s box:

“…what comes out of the box is not evil spirits, pretty, [but] are the virtues of culture and knowledge, now additional accessible than at any time to eachone.”

In his use of lighting with such dramatic effect, and especially the use of lantern illumination, the designers discovered Caravaggio’s work uncannily effective for use with 3D printing, approximately as if it were turn it intod for such a translation. It is stressed that in placing a lantern upcoming to his version to turn it into ‘raking light’ and manufacture for a advantageous effect, Caravaggio was indeed giving a 3D element to the subjects he was painting. This was part of what gave the illusion of characters and items ‘coming out’ of a scene, and as the designers envisioned, in their work, showcases quite do come out! And as the designers themselves ask, indeed, ‘how may the Flagellation of Christ be additional real, if not by turning it into a 3D printed painting?!’

“Even Merisi’s choice not to fill shadow areas with too most additional details, but to in fact leave them empty, when transposed into 3D, offers the visually impaired the opportunity not only to appreciate a painting overcoming the ‘limit’ of eyesight, but in addition to stand on an equal footing with the sighted, who perceive less additional details in the darkness than if they were under a source of light,” say the designers.

“So, in this respect, this 3D adaptation of Caravaggio’s Flagellation of Christ is incredibly coherent. The column to that Christ is tied can in no way be seen in the painting and therefore it can only be barely perceivable-bodied to the touch in its 3D adaptation.”

91d5ba14-9b5a-4514-9413-b4f27f49419eMany additional details such as Christ’s right leg and its position can be quite well understood of the visually impaired point of view, along with the figure in the forefront. With their use of tactile art and 3D printing, the ‘viewer’ can tell that the figure in front is ‘additional into relief’ when compared with Christ, as only its most basic shape and volume can be discerned, but quite no additional details.

It is obvious that the resulting work was incredibly rewarding for the designers, who in no way are ambitious adequate to compare themselves to the master, Caravaggio. They did, howat any time, point out that the project was additional complex than one may realize upon an first glance.

They began with a high-resolution image of Caravaggio’s masterpiece and and so studied at length how to proceed of there with a true 3D translation—not a distortion.

“The 2D image was and so utilized as the reference point to shape to the smallest additional detail the depth areas turn it intod at a later stage in the 3D adaptation of the Flagellation of Christ,” said the designers. “In order to complete this and have the right areas with the right amount of protrusion, we started of principles, i.e. the contrasts in light of Caravaggio’s work; it is the lights and shadows that define the depth, in addition, of course, to the painstaking work of the versioner, who turn it intod volumes by hand, via a few sort of virtual brush on a graphic table-bodiedt.”

Once the group had their hands on a 3D file reproducing the painting, they applied the painting scan.IMG_2064

“Think of a bas-relief carved on a wall and a projector that casts on it an image that fits the protrusions,” said the designers. “The mechanism is the same–the high-resolution image of the painting was applied to the 3D version.”

To manufacture their own work in 3D, that step was necessary so that the designers may proceed with ColorJet printing technology. Why use color? Obviously it was not for the blind, but intended to add visual appeal for the sighted who were in addition able-bodied to enjoy the 3D work excellently.Untitled

In post-production, the painting was polished quite delicately and with excellent precision.

“A exact touch is crucial, for the reason the risk of compromising the final product is real,” said the designers.

Whilst the 3D painting itself is an exceptional mission and effort, what is actually additional worthwhile are the lengths that this group of designers went to so that the blind may enjoy one of the excellentest painters in history as much as you and I are able-bodied to. As the MonzaMakers said so beautifully:

“Such a noble form of expression cannot and must not be a product only for the few. It must include, not exclude.”

What are your thoughts on this type of reproduction? Discuss in the 3D Printed Caravaggio forum over at 3DPB.com.